United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
JOSHUA W. KRUGER, # K-50216, Plaintiff,
JACQUELINE A. LASHBROOK Official Capacity Only, JOHN DOE #1 Mail Room Supervisor, and JOHN DOE #13, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
HERNDON, United States District Judge
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's “Motion
to Reconsider and for Leave to File an Amended Complaint,
” filed on April 12, 2018. (Doc. 7). On April 9, 2018,
this Court severed Counts 3-16 into 8 new cases. (Doc. 6).
Count 2 remains in this action. Plaintiff's motion argues
that in severing Counts 3-16, the Court misunderstood some of
his claims. Further, he asserts that all of the claims should
remain together in a single action, because Butler, Baldwin,
and Lashbrook made the “policies and practices”
which led to the violations of his constitutional rights, and
“acted in conspiracy” together. (Doc. 7, p. 2).
Along with his motion, Plaintiff has tendered a 33-page
proposed Amended Complaint, which has not yet been filed of
record pending the resolution of the instant motion.
discussed below, the portion of Plaintiff's motion that
seeks to re- consolidate the severed claims shall be denied.
However, the portion that requests leave to file an Amended
Complaint shall be granted. The Amended Complaint shall then
undergo a threshold merits review pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
Request to Reconsider Severance Order (Doc. 6)
that seek to alter or amend an order of the Court, if they
are filed within 28 days of the challenged order, are
generally considered under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
59(e). Plaintiff's motion was filed within this time
frame. Rule 59(e) permits a court to amend an order or
judgment only if the movant demonstrates a manifest error of
law or fact or presents newly discovered evidence that was
not previously available. See, e.g., Sigsworth v. City of
Aurora, 487 F.3d 506, 511-12 (7th Cir. 2007);
Harrington v. City of Chicago, 433 F.3d 542 (7th
Cir. 2006) (citing Bordelon v. Chicago Sch. Reform Bd. of
Trs., 233 F.3d 524, 529 (7th Cir. 2000)). “A
manifest error [of law or fact] is not demonstrated by the
disappointment of the losing party. It is the wholesale
disregard, misapplication, or failure to recognize
controlling precedent.” Oto v. Metropolitan Life
Ins. Co., 224 F.3d 601, 606 (7th Cir. 2000) (quotation
omitted). Further, the Seventh Circuit has made it clear that
Rule 59(e) “does not provide a vehicle for a party to
undo its own procedural failures, and it certainly does not
allow a party to introduce new evidence or advance arguments
that could and should have been presented to the district
court prior to the judgment.” Moro v. Shell Oil
Co., 91 F.3d 872, 876 (7th Cir. 1996) (citing LB
Credit Corp. v. Resolution Trust Corp., 49 F.3d
1263, 1267 (7th Cir. 1995)).
argues that all the claims in the original action should
remain together because former Warden Butler, Director
Baldwin, and Warden Lashbrook “began, orchestrated, and
implemented the policies and practices in question, ”
and “acted ‘in conspiracy' together.”
(Doc. 7, p. 2). Plaintiff then refers to page 12, paragraph
15, and page 13, paragraph 17, of the Complaint in connection
with this premise. (Doc. 1). However, neither of these
paragraphs contains any facts to support Plaintiff's
contention that Butler, Baldwin, and Lashbrook were
responsible for all the violations of his rights, or that
they were part of a conspiracy. The first of these paragraphs
contains no mention whatsoever of Butler, Baldwin, or
Lashbrook, let alone the claim that their policies or
conspiracy caused the violations. (Doc. 1, p. 12, para. 15).
Paragraph 17 on page 13 mentions only Baldwin, and asserts
that he, together with the John Does (#4-11) on the Religious
Practice Advisory Board, failed to respond to Plaintiff's
grievances and letters. The Court has examined the rest of
the Complaint, and has not found any factual statements in
any other section to support Plaintiff's current
assertion that the constitutional violations were caused by
Butler, Baldwin, and Lashbrook's policies, or their
“conspiracy.” To the contrary, Plaintiff alleged
that Butler and Lashbrook “knew of this policy and/or
custom” of the mail room staff to open mail from the
Attorney General, from having reviewed prisoners'
grievances. (Doc. 1, p. 10). Based on the actual allegations
contained in the original Complaint, the Court did not err in
failing to link Butler, Baldwin, and Lashbrook to each of
Plaintiff's claims of wrongdoing.
next argues that the severance order “guts the crux of
his Complaint - that defendants are/were acting in conspiracy
together to deprive plaintiff of his constitutional rights
all in retaliation.” (Doc. 7, p. 3). Plaintiff did
allege retaliation on the part of some Defendants, and this
is reflected in Counts 2, 5, 8, 10, and 15. However,
Plaintiff did not allege retaliation in connection with the
events underlying Counts 3, 6, 11, 12, 13, 14, or 16. As
pled, the original Complaint does not set forth a factual
basis for the premise that all the Defendants were acting
together to retaliate against Plaintiff, such that every
count in the Complaint could properly proceed together.
summarize, having reconsidered the severance of claims based
on the original Complaint, the Court finds no error in the
application of Rule 20(a)(2) to sever Plaintiff's claims
as directed in Doc. 6. Therefore, the portion of
Plaintiff's motion (Doc. 7) seeking reconsideration of
the Order of April 9, 2018, is DENIED
pursuant to Rule 59(e).
Court notes, however, that having examined the proposed
Amended Complaint, it appears that Plaintiff's revisions
and additional factual allegations may lead to the
consolidation of some of his claims after review of that
pleading has been completed.
Motion for Leave to File Amended Complaint
tendered the proposed Amended Complaint on April 12, 2018,
only 3 days after service on Defendant Lashbrook (in her
official capacity) was ordered. Lashbrook's waiver of
service was returned to the Clerk on April 16, 2018. Under
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a)(1)(A), Plaintiff may
amend his pleading once as a matter of course within 21 days
after service of the original pleading. Plaintiffs proposed
Amended Complaint was timely submitted under that Rule.
Accordingly, this portion of Plaintiffs motion (Doc. 7) is
IS THEREFORE ORDERED that the Clerk SHALL
FILE Plaintiffs proposed Amended Complaint and
attached exhibits, received on April 16, 2018, and consisting
of 33 pages, as the First Amended Complaint in this action.
review of the First Amended Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A shall be set forth in a separate Order.